A HIGHLY regarded member of the community has lost his firearms and shotgun licences due to his “propensity” for losses of self-control.
Raymond Wilkinson’s guns were removed and his licences revoked by Durham Police in March last year.
It followed a complaint of assault by Mr Wilkinson, during an altercation with the son of a man he helped care for, shortly before Christmas in 2012.
Durham Crown Court heard Mr Wilkinson was also subject of a previous complaint of assault, following a row with his future son-in-law and an attack on a village publican in Hett, near Durham City, at a New Year’s Eve party in 2001.
Richard Bennett, representing Durham’s Chief Constable, told the court that although none of those complaints resulted in criminal charges, they indicated that sometimes a “red mist” descends on Mr Wilkinson, leading to potential brief outbreaks of violence.
Appealing against revocation of the licences, Sam Faulks, representing Mr Wilkinson, handed in a series of character references, many from other people in Hett, who described him as, “an upstanding member of the village community”.
Other testimonials presented were from fellow shooters, who described his “trustworthiness” and the “professional and responsible” way he handled firearms, all considering that he posed no threat to the public.
But, following a two-day hearing spanning the Christmas and New Year break, Judge Christopher Prince, sitting with two magistrates, rejected Mr Wilkinson’s appeal.
Judge Prince said they were “sure” he was responsible for each of the alleged assaults, showing a "propensity" for losses of self-control.
“Each time he was aware any loss of control could result in revocation of his certificates, but he, nonetheless, was unable to control his temper.
“We conclude he’s unfit to be entrusted with a firearm and can’t be permitted to have a firearm or ammunition, and can’t be permitted to possess a shotgun, with public safety in mind.
“Therefore, the appeal fails.”
A further hearing will take place in coming weeks to decide if 58-year-old Mr Wilkinson, of Front Street, Hett, should pay towards the £1,485 costs of the appeal.